REVELATION 21: 1-6A
Kristin Leigh Grassel
Scripture: Revelation 21:1-6a - All Saints’ Day
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."
As the young and young at heart all over the United States enjoyed revelry of the Halloween holiday, followers of Jesus all over the world observed All Saints’ Day. A feast day of solemnity, All Saints’ Day marks the annual celebration of the saints, or people whose lives continue to serve as examples of holy commitment, piety, and love. All Saints’ Day celebrates the contributions of the all saints, both known and unknown.
While many rightfully trace the origins of Halloween to paganism, some of the holiday’s modern practices actually have Christian roots. For centuries, Christians have merrily mocked evil on All Hallows Eve (the night before All Saints’ Day) as a means of affirming their faith that the power of evil has been ultimately vanquished by God through the love of Christ.
Faith in the power of love, the love of which Jesus taught and to which the saints’ lives bear witness, the love that incarnates God, whose other name is Love, into the world, extends into a faith in God’s ultimate goal of reconciling humanity and all of creation back to God’s very Self. On All Hallow’s Eve we affirm that it is not evil but God’s utterly transforming love that has the ultimate hold and claim upon us.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Just as God quelled the chaos of the seas at Creation, the absence of the seas in the Revelation vision represents God’s final vanquishing of all chaos and evil on earth. This vision echoes our vision of hope for the Beloved Community, realized by God in the love expressed through human interrelationships.
"See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.”
Through Christ Jesus we have been shown the way of life. In making their lives living sacrifices to God, cheerfully giving up privilege, status, and wealth, the saints’ incarnated the love of God into the world. God is with us because God, the faithful Servant of human need, is in us and among us. Each of us, in our own way, is thus called to sainthood; each of us is specially and uniquely equipped to serve God and our human brothers and sisters.
"It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."
It is from God that we each came and to God that we each are destined. Created out of love and transformed by love throughout our lives, it is back into an eternal love which passes all understanding that we pass beyond this life. God is our every beginning and our every ending. Having received the freely given gifts of earth and life, may we each choose to respond to them with gratitude and lives of service to others, for the sake of Christ and the building of God’s loving community, on earth as it is in heaven.
Thanks be to God. Amen